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05.06.2006 Sports News


By Ronnie Esplin, PA Sport

Ghana warmed up for their first appearance in the World Cup finals with a deserved victory over South Korea at Easter Road.

Striker Asamoah Gyan fired in a first-half penalty for the African side after Kim Jin-kyu had handled in the box, but five minutes after the break Lee Eul-yong drove home an equaliser from distance.

However, midfielder Sulley Muntari restored Ghana's lead after the break with a close-range header and the impressive Michael Essien's strike 10 minutes from the end confirmed the Black Stars' superiority.

The opening exchanges were lively, but the first attempt on goal did not arrive until the 17th minute when Essien turned and fired in a right-footed shot from 12 yards which Korean goalkeeper Lee Woon-jae did well to block for a corner which proved to be fruitless.

South Korea retaliated and striker Park Chu-young flashed a header wide from close range following Lee Young-pyo's cross from the left.

But in the 37th minute Ghana took the lead from the spot. Kim Jin-kyu clumsily handled a John Pantsil cross from wide on the right and Gyan gleefully slammed the spot-kick high into the net.

However, five minutes after the interval South Korea were level when Lee Eul-yong fired in a speculative shot from 30 yards which Ghana's substitute goalkeeper Sammy Adjei, who had came on for Richard Kingson at the break, could only palm into the roof of the net.

The match continued to ebb and flow in an entertaining way but in the 62nd minute Ghana restored their lead with a simple goal.

Chelsea midfielder Essien's free-kick from the right was met by the head of Muntari who climbed highest in a packed six-yard box to nod home.

Moments later, Ghana striker Matthew Amoah found himself with only the goalkeeper to beat but blasted the ball over the bar from just 10 yards.

In the 70th minute Lee Chun-soo's corner from the left found the unmarked Park Ji-sung at the back post but the Manchester United player bulleted his header over the bar.

Seconds later, Essien drove his shot from 10 yards high into the stand at the other end.

But in the 80th minute Essien got his reward for a fine performance when he played a one-two with Gyan before sliding the ball in from close range.